As a first time Euro Cross Camp attendee, I had all kinda of thoughts and ideas as to what camp life might be like here in the heart of Cyclo-cross country. Some of them were fairly accurate and others not so much.
The dynamic here at camp is an interesting one to say the least. In general, we have a bunch of guys who enjoy a good practical joke and most can take the ribbing just as well as they can give it (almost). From what I hear from the veterans, this seems to be one of the best team dynamics the camp has seen in recent years. It definitely makes for some good times around the dinner table and plenty of laughs.
The good times have definitely spilled over from the dinner table out onto the streets of West Flanders on our training rides and races. Since Belgium has seen an unusual amount of snow since we arrived last week, we have been having some good times "rallying" our bikes on the training rides. If we're really looking to sharpen our handling skills, we'll set out on road tires. With the frozen streets, road tires and a little "argy bargy", entertaining ourselves on the training rides is a simple task.
Today we went about our normal routine, but with a twist. Our camp Director Geoff wanted to give us a chance to open up our legs in the middle of the week, while also giving us a chance at some inter-squad competition. He mapped out a short course near the canal, weaving through the trees and around some natural obstacles. Ryan Trebon even came over to throw down in the snow and slush and see if his "argy bargy" was up to snuff. A good time was had by all, and the gentleman's race even came down to a photos finish between Zach and Ryan.
I'd be remiss to give an account of my experiences here and do it without note of my first ever World Cup. The race result was nothing to write home about, but the experience was unbelievable. It blows my mind that I can travel across the Atlantic to race at the highest level and, logistically speaking, it was easier than doing a local race. It's a testament to the hard work and planning that Geoff Proctor and the Camp Staff put into every part of the process. I'm scheduled to race four out of five days starting after Christmas, and I'm determined to make the most of my time here, hopefully each race.